The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has cautioned Nigerians against buying drugs from street hawkers. The agency maintained that most of the drugs sold by these hawkers are counterfeits and are therefore poisonous to its consumers.
Vanguard reports that Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the NAFDAC Director-General, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday. During the interview, the professor stated that if people stopped buying the fake drugs, their businesses would collapse.
Adeyeye spoke through Dr Abubakar Jimoh, the Director of Public Affairs of the agency. She spoke in response to the ongoing nationwide campaign by the agency against substandard products. She described streethawking as an aberration and stated that one of the focuses of their campaign was to change the narrative of drug hawking.
She added that NAFDAC has employed a multifaceted approach of combating the issue of drug hawkers. One of such approaches was through their ongoing enforcement and public sensitisation.
She cited that the agency had already carried out some enforcement efforts such as arresting people but it was not enough. She cited this as the need to educate others on the dangers of purchasing drugs from hawkers so they could do their part while the agency did theirs.
“Prevention is better than cure, where people have information about the safety of food and drugs, they will be able to avoid so many things, and to this extent, falling victims of all kinds of illnesses will be reduced.”
She mentioned that as part of the ongoing sensitisation campaign, they would reinforce their earlier call for people to stop patronizing drug hawkers as drug hawking in Nigeria should not even be happening in the first place. She stated that drugs were not like other articles of trade that people should be hawking up and down. She explained the dangers of exposing drugs to different weathers by stating that even if the drugs were originally safe, exposing them to all sorts of weather could turn them to poison.
“People shying away from pharmacists or chemist shops all in the aim of saving money, poverty or out of pocket expenses are literally killing themselves.” She listed kidney failure and liver damage as some of the dangers that could arise from buying drugs from the streets.
She urged Nigerians to stop buying drugs from hawkers so that the demand would stop and this would also stop its supply.